I am continuing to work through my 24oz sample colours and I’ve nearly finished so I decided it was time to use up the scrap cane ends that I had created previously. I used a cane design by Fiona Abel-Smith which creates a colourful pattern that reminds me of crochet Granny Squares.
I made this cane and a few headpins and beads on a live stream earlier this week. If you are interested in how I made them there is a video still available. I haven’t even baked these yet (I like to fill the oven before I do so), so photographing them was a little tricky and is the reason there is glass in the background rather than my usual photo setup.
Of course I didn’t take into account that making a new cane from my scrap ends would result in new scrap cane ends! I think the last beads I make will end up mud tone that I need to texture for interest and add some colour with mica powders or paints.
Anyhow, I think I will soon be finished and able to show you the collection of beads I have made. Let me know if you are doing your own sample challenge as it would be great to share. Stay well, bye for now.
The short answer is “Probably not and I’m definitely not a scientist!”.
Years ago I did a polymer clay painting that I was really pleased with. I even had it framed and it was on display in an art gallery for several months (possibly over a year). However when I got it back the colours looked strange to me. Sure enough when I took it out of the frame there was a definite colour shift visible where it had been under the mount card. I don’t know if it had been in a window or if it was due to the bright shop lighting, but I was really distressed. I was so distressed that I didn’t take a photograph before trying some remedial actions.
To try and save the picture, I carefully scratched off the surface to blend the hard line where the colour changed. You can still see that the foreground is much more yellow at the bottom. I couldn’t do too much of this as I would have lost all the shadows and details added to the surface. You can see more clearly in the next image where I have layered the front and the back of the picture together (both photos taken in the same lighting right after each other).
Because it takes me days to make these paintings, I decided I didn’t want to do any more of them until I could check that the colours would remain as I intended. I couldn’t find any information about the colour fastness of polymer clay, but I did find an article for checking if water colour paints are colourfast. The suggestion was to paint a swatch and then leave it in a sunny place for a year to see if the colours change.
So I made a sheet with a spectrum of colours and cut it into three strips. I made the line wavy so I could fit the pieces together later. I kept one strip in a drawer, one strip on the wall of a room with north facing window and one strip on a south facing windowsill. I don’t know what brands of clay I used for the painting (especially the browns because I blended several scraps to make the colour), but for the test I used Fimo Professional (which at the time was a new product).
I couldn’t see any change for the strip that was on the wall, but for the strip that was on the windowsill there was some slight fading of the yellow where it mixed with the red (it’s now less orange) and the green seems to have faded overall. The colour change is a lot less that that which was suffered by the painting but it occurs to me that the double glazing of my window may have had some UV protection that the shop window didn’t. I think I need to put the “wall” strip in the garden for a year and see how that goes.
Unfortunately my process was a bit too chaotic to make this a nice (and accurate) scientific test. For a start I didn’t write down the dates for when I started and finished and I think there are several other variations that are worth testing. For example:
Different brands of polymer clay
Colours mixed with white
Black polymer clay
Clay exposed directly to sunlight (outside)
So in conclusion there was definitely some colour fading of the yellow and green. Was it significant enough that I don’t want to make any more paintings? Is it unreasonable to expect no change? Was it less faded than before because it’s a new formula or a different environment or because it’s fully saturated colours?
I don’t know!
I told you I wasn’t a good scientist, but I thought I’d share with you what I have found out so far anyway. Maybe in another year I’ll have some results for how the colour strip fares directly outside. In the meantime please let me know if you’ve done similar tests or if you have better information.
I have finally finished editing and uploading a tutorial for making a kaleidoscope cane. I have the footage where I used this cane to make beads, but as you can tell I’m pretty slow at the editing phase so I’m not sure when that will be complete.
This is part of the sample challenge that I set for myself. If you’d like to join in too, get yourself 24 different colours of polymer clay that are 1oz each and use them all up. You can use an actual sample pack or use what you’ve got and mix up your own colours (that’s what I did). Tag what you make with #24ozPolymerClay so that we can find each other on the socials.
The scrap ends of my rainbow cane had some lovely colours, so I couldn’t look at them sitting on my board for long without wanting to make something new with them. I decided to make some of my round natasha beads. I mixed some the bright colours with white to get some tonal variation in the finished beads.
These beads are ridiculously complicated to make, involving an extruded cane cut into cubes, assembled into bigger cubes, then cut into natasha beads and then made round. Halfway through I realised I liked the cube format too, so after much deliberation I decided to keep most of them half formed.
I’m still not sure which I prefer…
I also used Fiona Abel-Smith’s tutorial to make another extruded cane with the rest of the scraps and a few others lurking on my table. I like the vintage granny square look that these have. I textured the surface of these beads to add to the textile impression.
I have finally managed to get another video tutorial filmed and edited. It’s a pretty simple tutorial since I’m still practising the video making. It’s mainly a tip I learned the slow way when making the heishi beads for my Thunderbird necklaces.
Hopefully I’ll get some more tutorials made soon. That’s if I can figure out how to get a longer video clip off my phone!
Let me know if there are any techniques you would be interested in seeing.
Here’s a video showing the technique I use to create a sheet of polymer clay mokume gane using a variety of stamps. I’m working on another video showing some things you can make with your finished sheet. I’m due to get a new phone tomorrow so the quality of the video footage should improve soon (although I still have a few demos that I have already filmed which are waiting for editing).
Here are some earrings I made using the sheet so you can see it all nicely sanded and finished. I have another video with a tip for sanding when there is wire embedded in your polymer clay.
My blog has been a bit quiet while I sort out a backlog of chores at home and excavate my workspace. Part of this process has been getting my jewellery listed online (it’s not entirely logical but I feel like I can’t make new stuff if there is nowhere for my existing things to go). The good news is that I have finally gotten some of my vintage teacup inspired earrings listed in my shop. I made them a few years ago, so here’s a reminder.
I have also finally completed a little tutorial video. It’s just a small tip for sanding your polymer clay when there is wire embedded in it (like for the triangle shaped pieces pictured above in the last row). It’s currently available as a preview for my Patreon subscribers, but I’ll be making it public soon.